Who do you trust for your health information?
Last time I encouraged you to take a journey to a new destination to improve your health and the health of our planet. This week I would like to discuss the importance of finding reliable travel guides. Everyone has an opinion. But if you are going to receive accurate “travel advice” you need to consider the source!
Many in our country carry the belief that our doctor knows what is important for our health. Let’s explore this…..
Look around you every day or check out the statistics at the Center for Disease Control and you will find that our population is getting heavier and that chronic illnesses are increasing. We spend almost twice as much on our health care as most any other country in the world…yet do not rank in the top 20 for overall health when it comes to chronic disease. Something is wrong!
Confusion reigns when it comes to our food choices….there are so many foods to choose from and so many different diet recommendations. Many of these recommendations conflict with each other. We all are given the advice to eat more fruits and vegetables…but at the same time, we are advised to eat fewer carbs. Don’t fruits and veggies break down into the carbs we are advised to avoid? The internet is filled with advice that coconut oil is healthy…but this is in conflict in that the saturated fat in coconut oil is a major building block for the plaque that builds up and eventually clogs our arteries; leading to heart attacks and strokes. Who should we turn to for the truth about what is healthy?
Let’s start with our physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. First, take a good look at your provider….does he or she look healthy? If so, then ask your provider what training he or she has had with nutrition and specifically with food as medicine. Most providers have had little mandatory training in nutrition and are following the same advice as you can obtain from the internet and social media. Most are as confused (whether they realize this or not) as you are. They may believe they have solid knowledge from reading their medical journals, but most are not aware or do not give much thought to the food and pharmaceutical industries influence on the studies they have been relying on. Check out the DVD titled, “What The Health”…you can find it on Netflix…and discover how the advice we receive from many of our health organizations is influenced by industries that provide our processed foods.
Let’s say that your provider acknowledges that they have had little training and are confused about what advice to give you about healthy food choices. So they refer you to a class or to a dietitian. Again I suggest that you first evaluate what role model you are taking advice from. Does this person have ideal body weight? Are they taking medications for diseases that could more effectively be controlled by food choices and other healthy lifestyle choices? Do not be afraid to ask about training and life experiences from the person you wish to obtain information about how to achieve your own best health. If you wanted to learn to play the piano or play tennis…you would probably spend some time searching for someone with experience and success.
If you prefer to research on your own concerning healthy food choices, I hope that you would choose resources that are supported by science. But where does one find these resources? Nine years ago, as a practicing physician for over 34 years, I thought I knew what was healthy to eat…but I was mistaken. A medical student pointed me to a site on the internet that was the most evidence-based and transparent site I have yet to discover. I encourage you all to check out this free source of information. It could change your life and lead you on a path to health that you had not yet imagined. I have asked every medical student and class member I have ever interacted with to find some problem with this site..not one person has reported back to me about any problem. The site is. www.nutritionfacts.org. View the videos. ..”Philosophy of nutritionfacts.org”. And “Behind the Scenes at Nutritionfacts.org.” The first video I watched was… “Uprooting the leading causes of death”……Another site I use is…. www.pcrm.org. This site has articles and videos and a 21-day kick start programming…all free resources.
Also, you can check out www.drmcdougall.com. Another free site with recipes from around the world….and the testimonials will inspire you.
The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to become more mindful of your food choices. Look to the science to help clear your confusion. And you too might discover that food is medicine! You will discover that the science shows that eating more Whole Foods that are plant-based (foods as grown in nature and not highly processed) are the healthiest choices. And once you discover this, you will rely more on your own lifestyle choices (and less on pills) to obtain the health you deserve.